Visual Freedom! Orthokeratology

Visual Freedom! Orthokeratology

How to be free from glasses or contact lenses during the day without the need for laser refractive surgery

Many people love wearing glasses and feel they are an essential part of their distinctive style as well as offering tailored correction for their individual visual needs. Not everyone chooses to wear glasses though and we are fortunate now to have a range of fantastically comfortable daily wear contact lenses to correct almost every prescription.

However, there are times when even the highest quality contact lens can cause irritation to patients with dry eyes or when working in dusty conditions. Many of us are spending longer than ever looking at electronic devices, often in air conditioned environments. This is causing a rise in ocular dryness and discomfort and many are searching for an alternative to traditional methods of visual correction.

Glasses and contact lenses also have limitations when it comes to active lifestyles especially for those who enjoy swimming, sports and water based activities, so what is the alternative?

Laser refractive surgery can be a good choice and many people will describe how it has changed their lives, however; it comes with a big up front cost, visual correction is not always permanent, it can cause further symptoms of dryness and irreversible visual haze and like all surgical procedure comes with significant risks which some patients may not want to undertake.

If some of the above points resonate with you then Orthokerotology (ortho-K) might be your ideal solution. Ortho-K corrects your vision while you sleep, through the overnight wear of custom contact lenses which once removed give you clear natural vision throughout the day. Ortho-K is non-invasive, safe, effective and can be adapted if your eyesight changes over time.

Ortho-K works by gently reshaping the cornea which plays a key role in focusing your vision clearly. By fractionally flattening the profile of a myopic (short-sighted) cornea overnight, sharp vision can be achieved for the duration of the following day. As well as correcting the vision when the lenses are removed, excellent vision can also be achieved when the Ortho-K lenses are worn enabling top up vision if the effect begins to diminish. Full correction can usually be achieved for patients with up to -5.00D of myopia and up to 2.50D of astigmatism. Good results have been achieved beyond this range but it is possible that these prescriptions may not be completely corrected.

Ortho-K’s effect is well underway even after just one night of wear with full correction usually achieved within one week and the price is comparable to regular use of good quality daily disposable contact lenses.

Correction is safe and 100% reversible as the lenses are made from an extremely breathable material. There is also evidence that Ortho-K slows down the progression of short-sightedness (myopia control) in young patients by changing the focus on the peripheral retina. The lenses can be fitted safely for children and teenagers and Ortho-K is already established as a popular method myopia control with lots of further research currently underway.

So… What is the procedure?

An initial assessment will establish an accurate prescription after which a computerised corneal topography scan will be performed to establish the curvature and contour of the front surface of your eye. Combining these results with a detailed examination of the eye will help to determine the likely success of the procedure. Further analysis of these findings is performed by the experts at the contact lens lab who will manufacture your bespoke set of Ortho-K lenses.

Once the lenses are received you will be shown how to safely insert, remove and care for them prior to your first overnight wear. You will be reviewed the following morning and again a week or two later to establish the full effect as well as to assess whether further adjustments to the lens are required. There are likely to be up to four visits within the first 3 months.

To maintain the visual effect, the lenses do need to be worn consistently and check ups and replacement lenses are recommended every six months.

At Webb, Lucas & Stubbs Optometrists we fit EyeDream lenses manufactured with great success by No7 contact lenses. Appointment for an Ortho-K assessment can be arranged with one of the specialist contact lens fitters so why not give us a call for more details and experience this freedom for yourself?